The Commercial Tax department of UP government has denied permission to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas to bring fresh lot of sandstones from other states to Ayodhya for carving out structures for the proposed Ram Temple there. The department has cited the “status quo” ordered by the Supreme Court at the disputed site for denying the permission.
The Nyas and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), both, termed the decision as a move to “appease a particular community”. VHP has also decided to take legal opinion on the department’s order.
Artisans have been carving stones for the proposed temple at two workshops, named Karsevakpuram by the VHP, in Ayodhya for past over two decades. The work had gathered pace after two trucks laden with 35 tonnes of pink sandstone had arrived there in December last year. But with the stock dwindling, the Nyas had sought permission to bring more sandstones from Bharatpur in Rajasthan.
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Additional Commissioner, Commercial Tax, Faizabad division, Akhilesh Kumar Shukla told The Indian Express that the department, in an order over a month ago, had told the Nyas office bearers that permission could not be granted for bringing sandstones because “status quo” was continuing at the disputed site following apex court’s order.
Shukla further said the permission was denied as new work could be done at the disputed site if stones were allowed to be brought in, which will be a violation of the SC order. “The order has been issued by a district level official. This is a quasi-judicial order and applicant can move a higher appellant authority against the order,” Shukla said, adding the order was issued after Nyas sought permit for bringing in more sandstone.
The Nyas had sought the permission through Form-39, which is required to be obtained from the Commercial Tax department for bringing taxable commodities ?like sandstone — from outside the state. He claimed that lots of sandstone that was brought in the past has been dumped at the site without being carved.
Nyas member Mahant Suresh Das of Digambar Akhara, however, claimed that the department has denied to give permission without giving any valid reason in writing. “The state government has put a restriction on arrival of stones for Ram temple from other states only to appease the other community,” alleged Mahant Das, adding that the permission was awaited since March.
VHP spokesperson in Ayodhya, Sharad Sharma said that the Nyas has not received any written order, but it has been verbally communicated that fresh permit could not be granted for bringing stones for temple work till further orders.
“Application for permit was submitted with the department in March this year. But, it only recently denied the permission without giving any valid reason. The move (has been taken) to appease a particular community,” Sharma alleged.
Sharma said that carving of stones at the workshop was going on since 1990. He claimed that huge lots of sandstones have been stocked in Bharatpur in Rajasthan awaiting for permit from UP government.
Nyas members, in a meeting in June last year, had decided to collect stones instead of cash donations from “Ram bhakts”. It had also issued a nationwide appeal to devotees to donate stones for the Ram temple.
VHP spokesperson said that around 1.75 lakh cubic feet of stone was required to build the temple as per its proposed design. He said that around 1 lakh cubic feet of stone has been purchased since 1990. The plan is for a 268-foot long, 140-foot broad and 128-foot high temple across two floors, topped by a shikhar (dome).